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Can't shake this sad feeling five months on

(12 Posts)
Orenishii Sat 06-Apr-13 10:37:13

I gave birth five months ago and still feel awful about it. We'd planned a water birth at home and I know these things can't be planned, but I was horribly pressured into an induction that ended in a spinal and forceps.

I'd not just spent nine months thinking about giving birth...I'd wanted a baby for a very long time and often thought about the moment I'd give birth. I used hypnobirthing techniques for 12 hours with contractions 2 mins apart but he turned and I was in agony in my back. I had an epidural but they said it had worn off by the time I was 10cm. I was on my back, feet in stirrups, feeling no sensation to push but in agony in my back, being shouted at to push. Physically it was awful but more so, mentally it was so much worse.

I know it's not pleasant but I feel like I missed out on this important part. The ring of fire, crowning, pushing him out. I just wanted to experience it so I'd know what it was like so I wouldn't be afraid. I don't feel like I've given birth - please those of you who also had forceps or a CS - I don't mean to invalidate it. I think it's just grief. I feel so sad about it that when my DH told me I poo'd myself during the awful no sensation shouting pushing stage, I cried because I must have got him so far right? Who cries with relief at pooing themselves??

I don't feel like I did anything. He came out with black eyes and they cut his cord and whisked him away even though he was fine. I feel so sad about it all and even if the next birth/labour is a water birth at home and everything is as I'd hoped, it'll never make it right because it happened with DS.

QTPie Sat 06-Apr-13 11:28:11

You are an amazing woman: you carried a pregnancy, you did give birth to a child and you are now caring for that child. You are absolutely amazing and how he eventually came out does nothing to change that.

Have you thought about getting some counselling/therapy? It isn't like a magic pill, but just helps you to work through your emotions.

Take care.

domesticslattern Sat 06-Apr-13 11:33:55

I wonder if you'd find anything useful on the Birth Trauma Association website? There is some good advice there as well as the experiences of other women. Worth a look?

crochetcircle Sat 06-Apr-13 11:43:03

You did amazingly to birth your baby, despite not being able to feel anything and having so much control taken away.

I had similar feelings to you after my forceps delivery during which I felt nothing and pushed and pushed to no avail. I felt I'd failed somehow and also missed out on an important experience.

But those feelings faded for me over the first few months and I was able to move on.

I don't have any advice as such, but I wanted you to know what an amazing thing you have done and that you're not alone in your feelings.

Wishfulmakeupping Sat 06-Apr-13 11:54:06

Like the others have said- you did amazing. You went through something extremely difficult and your ds is here now smile
I bet your partner is very proud of you- you nee to be proud of yourself smile be kind to yourself op

Pinkflipflop Sat 06-Apr-13 12:01:05

I'm so sad and sorry for you; I think you really do sound like you are traumatised by your experience.

I too waited a long time for a baby, 11 years however unlike you I spend the whole 9 months worrying about 'natural' birth. I ended up with a planned csection and it was the best experience I could have wished for.

What really annoys me about your post is that fact that you were shouted at during your baby's birth. Why were you shouted at? I know it's not really going to help you, but I think for the sake of the other women that midwife is going to be looking after, you should raise a complaint. How on earth is it ever acceptable to shout at someone when they are giving birth?

I don't see what is 'natural' about being shouted at while lying immobilised on a table. At least with a section you kind of know what you are getting. This is part of the reason why if I was lucky enough to get pregnant again, I would be pushing for another planned section. It was the calmest experience I could have wished for.

I think you are very brave to speak about this and I really, really hope you get the help you need.

simbaandblue Mon 08-Apr-13 09:26:11

Pinkflipflop I was shouted at too. I had a horrific birthing experience which included being shouted at. I think it's fairly common really, they about to encourage you to keep pushing I suppose.
OP you need to talk through what happened, with someone you trust. My experience with forceps etc is similar although the start of our stories is different. I'm going to be getting in touch with the birth trauma association because I'm not getting over it (only 9 weeks).

Sorry I can't be more useful: hope things get easier for you x x x

MrsPurr Mon 08-Apr-13 12:14:11

I really feel for you OP, your experience sounds very similar to mine. I ended up with a spinal and forceps after a long, long back-to-back labour. I felt awful about it and couldn't talk about it without crying for a long time though I tried to laugh it off. I think it takes time to get some perspective, you must be really kind to yourself. I wish I had talked about it more as I think the more you tell your story to kind friends, the more normal and less weird and alienating it will feel. I couldn't even talk to my own mum on the phone for about 24 hours after the birth, I was so shell-shocked. And I remember in the early days feeling odd when family and my husband celebrated round my bed with champagne while I sat/lay on my painful episiotomy. I couldn't have felt less festive and they were all immediately bonded with the baby and acting like it was Christmas!

I felt like my baby had nothing to do with me -- I felt nothing as they pulled him out (even though DH said they were pulling so hard they were dragging me bodily down the operating table). It was like they'd just produced him from out of a cupboard under the table. He didn't even open his eyes for the first 24 hours. I found the lack of control really awful -- I wasn't pressured into an induction and was only gently asked if I'd like to try forceps after 2 hours of pushing -- but I agreed rapidly -- next time I think I would ask for more time to think about it as the baby wasn't in distress. I had no fixed plans about labour and thought I was very level-headed about it -- my mum had had forceps and said it was fine. As it turned out i found the whole experience shattering.

However. My DS is now 3 and I do feel better about it. It took a long time though. I went to have a birth debrief with the head of midwifery before thinking about conceiving another one (with which I am now 35 weeks preg). He told me they can't do forceps unless you are pushing a bit so he said I DID help to push it out -- like you, I felt I hadn't given birth. And I after that I then remembered actually the obstetrician afterwards saying well done, you really helped us there. It helped me to remember some of the good bits because like you I had lots of horrid bits which were all I could think about (awful cold midwife, really nasty experiences on the postnatal ward inc sitting in my own blood for 24 hours afterwards). He also said there was no reason why I couldn't have a natural birth next time.

I do think people it went well for sometimes have some difficulty understanding how awful it is if it went wrong for you -- especially if you have a healthy baby etc. I do completely understand your feelings of alienation etc. Be gentle with yourself. I ended up with postnatal depression I'm afraid, not to scare you but just keep an eye on yourself. I completely understand how you must be feeling. But it's OVER, you DID IT and you now have a lovely baby. You grew that baby carefully for 9 months, ate right, didn't get drunk, etc etc. You have already done brilliantly and I am sure you are doing brilliantly now. Take care of yourself.

RegLlamaOfBrixton Wed 24-Apr-13 14:15:13

Hi OP. I recognise so much of what you are saying here. This was me 2 years ago Slightly different situation in that I wasn’t induced, but like you, I didn’t feel like I’d given birth to DS1, and as if they’d produced him out of a cupboard in theatre. I felt like I’d let him down so badly and that something important had been taken away from me. I felt grief that the natural birth I thought was about to happen had turned into all those hopeless hours of pushing and a trip on a bed covered in drips and monitors, to theatre. I wanted to feel the sensation of pushing him out and with a spinal block I couldn’t feel a damned thing. And then I felt even more guilty because I couldn’t just be grateful for my beautiful healthy baby.

Things that helped me were talking again and again about my experience to anyone who could lend a sympathetic ear. I had a birth debrief when DS1 was 4 weeks old which helped me to understand exactly what had happened and why certain decisions had been made. There are also loads of threads on here with people who have faced similar feelings following difficult births.

These feelings gradually eased over time and by the time DS1 was a year old I felt nearly back to normal. In all honesty though I didn’t completely get over it until I became pregnant with DS2 last year. The pregnancy reminded me that ultimately I was pregnant to have another baby and in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t matter how we got there. I’d had my expectations of birth shattered by my experience with DS1, and resolved to put no pressure on myself to give birth in a certain way. In the event labour was 8 hours from first contraction to birth, 20 minutes pushing, no interventions (this was nearly 5 months ago). What made all the difference though was the wonderful, wonderful midwives I had this time around. I know you say that if you had a subsequent better birth it still wouldn’t make it ok, and I felt like that too. I felt like nothing could heal the hurt and guilt I felt over it and that my experience as a mother would forever be under this kind of cloud. But I’ve come to terms with it in a way I never thought I could and I know it’s a cliché but it really has made me a stronger person.

You are really not alone in feeling like this and I don’t think it’s something that we are prepared for antenatally. Difficult births, particularly for first timers are very, very common, certainly much moreso than I'd been led to believe. And it's all a matter of luck, there's not a huge amount we can do to influence the way birth will go. Please be kind to yourself, I bet your DS is a real cutie like mine. Come back and let us know how you’re doing. flowers

kalidasa Wed 24-Apr-13 14:40:49

I know it's an old thread but my baby is also five months old. The birth was fine and quite straightforward, so not the same situation as the OP, but I had an awful awful pregnancy and I haven't recovered from it at all. I can't talk about it without becoming tearful (I was so ill at one point while in hospital for the third time that we had to discuss a termination). As a result of the pregnancy I have lots of ongoing physical/mental health issues for which I am having treatment. I have also been diagnosed with PND which was quite severe, though is now beginning to improve I think.

I also feel a mixture of guilt (that I am still so stuck on my experience, and that perhaps this detracts from the baby; that I am still not sure it was "worth it") and anger/grief (at the loss of the normal experience of pregnancy, which I shall never have, as both conditions I suffered from are almost certain to recur as badly or possibly more severely if I ever had another one).

I am seeing a therapist (with the baby) and also a psychologist at the local children's centre. I would really recommend that you find someone to talk this through with who can help you acknowledge your experience. Even just one conversation without anyone adding 'but of course it doesn't really matter as long as the baby is OK' is healing I found!

fairypangolin Fri 26-Apr-13 15:46:16

orenishii I had a similar experience- really wanted a natural birth and did a hypnobirthing course, ended up with emergency c section andpp haemorrhage after 48 hrs, with drip and two epidurals first. I was devastated by the experience of being in pain for so long, 3 nights with no sleep and almost no food but mostly the feeling of utter uselessness because my body simply couldn't get the baby out. It took 3 doctors to get him out if me because he was wedged in. I couldn't talk about it without crying for ages and while I had no problem bonding with my son, I felt deeply ashamed of my "failure", despite knowing it was completely irrational.

I think the hypnobirthing course was part of the problem because I had effectively hypnotised myself into believing the birth would be very different. My hypnobirthing instructor didn't want to talk to me about it, I think because she viewed it as a failure as well. I don't doubt it is a great technique to help if you have a short straightforward labour but if you don't you then have a mental conflict. I also had some close friends who were very pro natural birth and had amazing experiences, which made me feel worse.

My hospital has a birth afterthoughts service where you can go and discuss your delivery and the hospital notes with a medwife in order to understand what happened. Have you looked into this? The midwives were very supportive e and encouraging. Also my health visitor was very sympathetic and I was able to talk about the birth with her. I would recommend seeking counselling like the other posters. Childbirth is a unique experience and has an emotional weight totally unlike having any other medical procedure. It really isn't just about whether you have a healthy baby!

eagleray Mon 29-Apr-13 23:28:41

Kalidasa you have hit the nail on the head with 'as long as the baby is ok' bit - I get this sort of response from people quite a bit, as if I'm being a bit ungrateful! I planned the same sort of birth as the OP (although tried desperately hard to be realistic about the likelihood of having to be in hospital/having interventions etc). I was under immense pressure to be induced and although I went into labour naturally, the community midwife team were busy and unable to attend, and then I failed to progress so was induced anyway (followed by forceps, episiostomy etc etc)

Still a bit peed off that my body 'let me down', not helped by DP's surprise at me 'giving in' to an epidural (I had lost my mind by then and was presented with a 'now or never' scenario by the MW so felt under terrible pressure to have it)

I too remember pushing and being shouted at (in a supposedly encouraging way by DP but had to tell him to shut up) and felt absolutely nothing.

Feel very sorry for you Orenishii - I can relate to the sadness and have days where I dwell on it a bit and other days when I can put it to the back of my mind.

Fairy I actually found my hypnobirthing teacher to be fairly realistic inasmuchas there was some emphasis on using the hypno techniques to help you through whatever situation you ended up in during the birth. However, the words 'your body knows what to do' are ringing a bit hollow now as my body didn't have the first clue!

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